2119.) Isaiah 35

June 15, 2017
Desert in bloom in Alamo Canyon, Ajo Mountains, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Desert in bloom in Alamo Canyon, Ajo Mountains, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona.  Photograph by Ed Cooper.

Isaiah 35   (ESV)

The Ransomed Shall Return

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.

I35 streams

For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;

from My Utmost for His Highest,
by Oswald Chambers

VISION AND REALITY

“And the parched ground shall become a pool”  —  v. 7

We always have visions, before a thing is made real. When we realize that although the vision is real, it is not real in us, then is the time that Satan comes in with his temptations, and we are apt to say it is no use to go on. Instead of the vision becoming real, there has come the valley of humiliation.

“Life is not as idle ore,
but iron dug from central gloom
and battered by the shocks of doom
to shape and use.”

God gives us the vision, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision, and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give up. Every vision will be made real if we will have patience. Think of the enormous leisure of God! He is never in a hurry. We are always in such a frantic hurry. In the light of the glory of the vision we go forth to do things, but the vision is not real in us yet; and God has to take us into the valley, and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the place where He can trust us with the veritable reality. Ever since we had the vision God has been at work, getting us into the shape of the ideal, and over and over again we escape from His hand and try to batter ourselves into our own shape.

The vision is not a castle in the air, but a vision of what God wants you to be. Let Him put you on His wheel and whirl you as He likes, and as sure as God is God and you are you, you will turn out exactly in accordance with the vision. Don’t lose heart in the process. If you have ever had the vision of God, you may try as you like to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never let you.

in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;

I35 This_is_the_way
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

_________________________

Music:

Coming home. How many times have we longed to go back home? From summer camp as a kid — from freshman year at college — from a long vacation on too many different beds — from an unsettling place to what is known and loved. I think of what it must have been like for my mother (whose birthday was later this month) to arrive in Heaven and see her mother, father, little siblings who had died as children, and her Savior — welcoming her home to everlasting joy and gladness, with no more sorrow or sighing and much singing! And this is our future, too, as followers of Jesus Christ! Click  HERE  for a delightful “Welcome Home” (and thank you, Carole!).

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Cooper.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/f2/1e/d3/f21ed32ea53ed79000880bc3bf94b0d0.jpg
vs. 6-7.    http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/citysafari/winter_08/isaiah_streams_2008.jpg
This is the way.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/this_is_the_way_isaiah.jpg
Welcome home balloon.    https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/390e3447-28b3-4439-b293-1d706a28dad8_1.0492b2f6c36bb658c7fe8af6cba20286.jpeg?odnHeight=450&odnWidth=450&odnBg=FFFFFF

2118.) Isaiah 34

June 14, 2017

Gavel

Isaiah 34   (ESV)

Judgment on the Nations

Chapter 34 presents a comprehensive view of God’s judgments on guilty nations; Chapter 35 is a view of God’s blessing upon his people. Notice the contrasts!

Draw near, O nations, to hear,
and give attention, O peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that fills it;
the world, and all that comes from it.

This message from God is so important that Isaiah summons the whole earth to hear it, for the judgment that is coming will be severe.

For the Lord is enraged against all the nations,
and furious against all their host;
he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter.
Their slain shall be cast out,
and the stench of their corpses shall rise;
the mountains shall flow with their blood.
All the host of heaven shall rot away,
and the skies roll up like a scroll.
All their host shall fall,
as leaves fall from the vine,
like leaves falling from the fig tree.

For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens;
behold, it descends for judgment upon Edom,
upon the people I have devoted to destruction.

Psalm 137:7   (NIV)

Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
    on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
    “tear it down to its foundations!”

I34 Jacob and Esau

Edom is representative of the nations which are enemies of God and his people.  Edom was a sister nation to Israel, but had a violent hatred for Israel, more so than any other nation. The hatred dates back in history to Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac. Esau sold his birthright for a morsel of food to assuage his temporal hunger. It was for this reason that the birthright and blessings were given to Jacob, who later became Israel. The Scripture tells us the Esau hated his brother Jacob and they went separate ways. There was never a true reconciliation, and as nations developed from these two people, they remained hostile.

–N. E. Constance

The Lord has a sword; it is sated with blood;
it is gorged with fat,
with the blood of lambs and goats,
with the fat of the kidneys of rams.
For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah,
a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
Wild oxen shall fall with them,
and young steers with the mighty bulls.
Their land shall drink its fill of blood,
and their soil shall be gorged with fat.

For the Lord has a day of vengeance,
a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch,
and her soil into sulfur;
her land shall become burning pitch.
10 Night and day it shall not be quenched;
its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever.

11 But the hawk and the porcupine shall possess it,
the owl and the raven shall dwell in it.

God has a time, the prophet says, when he will carry out his purposes of vengeance, which “refers to God’s action in carrying out the sentence which He as Judge has justly imposed” (William MacDonald). Burning pitch brings to mind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. No people will live there after such devastation — only birds and wild beasts will find their place there among the thorns and thistles.

He shall stretch the line of confusion over it,
and the plumb line of emptiness.
12 Its nobles—there is no one there to call it a kingdom,
and all its princes shall be nothing.

13 Thorns shall grow over its strongholds,
nettles and thistles in its fortresses.
It shall be the haunt of jackals,
an abode for ostriches.
14 And wild animals shall meet with hyenas;
the wild goat shall cry to his fellow;
indeed, there the night bird settles
and finds for herself a resting place.

15 There the owl nests and lays
and hatches and gathers her young in her shadow;
indeed, there the hawks are gathered,
each one with her mate.

16 Seek and read from the book of the Lord:

I34 Bible

“The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.” Augustine of Hippo

“Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian.”Dwight Lyman Moody

“A good church is a Bible-centered church. Nothing is as important as this–not a large congregation, a witty pastor, or tangible experiences of the Holy Spirit.”Alistair Begg

“The reason you don’t like the Bible, you old sinner, is because it knows all about you.”Billy Sunday

“The primary purpose of reading the Bible is not to know the Bible but to know God.”James Merritt

Not one of these shall be missing;
none shall be without her mate.
For the mouth of the Lord has commanded,
and his Spirit has gathered them.
17 He has cast the lot for them;
his hand has portioned it out to them with the line;
they shall possess it forever;
from generation to generation they shall dwell in it.

_________________________

Music:

We do not know what distress may come to us in our lives (I hope not anything quite like what has been described in this chapter!) — but as Twila Paris reminds us  HERE  —  “God Is In Control.” So you can shake out the tension in your shoulders now and look up to heaven and say, “Thank you, Lord!”

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
judge’s gavel.    http://biblestudyoutlines.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/i3dgavel.jpg
Jacob and Esau.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/jacobandesau.jpg
porcupine.    https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/assets.barcroft.tv/efa93cff-bfc4-462e-96a4-bd26013def5a.jpg
Bible.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/getthumbnail.jpg

2117.) Isaiah 33

June 13, 2017

I33 v2 sunrise

Isaiah 33   (ESV)

O Lord, Be Gracious to Us

Ah, you destroyer,
who yourself have not been destroyed,
you traitor,
whom none has betrayed!
When you have ceased to destroy,
you will be destroyed;
and when you have finished betraying,
they will betray you.

The tables will be turned:  the destructiveness and treachery of the Assyrians will come back upon them. God will answer his people’s prayers for deliverance.

O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
Be our arm every morning,
our salvation in the time of trouble.
At the tumultuous noise peoples flee;
when you lift yourself up, nations are scattered,
and your spoil is gathered as the caterpillar gathers;
as locusts leap, it is leapt upon.

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;
he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,
and he will be the stability of your times,
abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.

Matthew 6:33  (NIV)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

I33 sennacherib-besieged-judah

Verses 7-9 revert to the time when King Hezekiah sent ambassadors of peace to Sennacherib and was told to pay a fine of three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold (2 Kings 18:13-16). But even this did not succeed in buying off the Assyrian. He marched against Judah, leaving a trail of havoc and suffering.

The envoys from Judah are weeping bitterly because of the failure of their mission. The Assyrian has broken his word by invading Judah.  The most scenic places are now scenes of desolation.

–William MacDonald

Behold, their heroes cry in the streets;
the envoys of peace weep bitterly.
The highways lie waste;
the traveler ceases.
Covenants are broken;
cities are despised;
there is no regard for man.
The land mourns and languishes;
Lebanon is confounded and withers away;
Sharon is like a desert,
and Bashan and Carmel shake off their leaves.

10 “Now I will arise,” says the Lord,
“now I will lift myself up;
now I will be exalted.
11 You conceive chaff; you give birth to stubble;
your breath is a fire that will consume you.
12 And the peoples will be as if burned to lime,
like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire.”

13 Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
and you who are near, acknowledge my might.
14 The sinners in Zion are afraid;
trembling has seized the godless:
“Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”
15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
who despises the gain of oppressions,
who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,
who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed
and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,
16 he will dwell on the heights;
his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks;
his bread will be given him; his water will be sure.

I33 be-good

So here is what to do to be secure and satisfied:

1.   Walk righteously.
2.   Speak what is right.
3.   Reject gain from extortion.
4.   Refuse to accept bribes.
5.   Walk away from plots of murder.
6.   Close your eyes rather than look at evil.

17 Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty;
they will see a land that stretches afar.
18 Your heart will muse on the terror:
“Where is he who counted, where is he who weighed the tribute?
Where is he who counted the towers?”
19 You will see no more the insolent people,
the people of an obscure speech that you cannot comprehend,
stammering in a tongue that you cannot understand.
20 Behold Zion, the city of our appointed feasts!
Your eyes will see Jerusalem,
an untroubled habitation, an immovable tent,
whose stakes will never be plucked up,
nor will any of its cords be broken.
21 But there the Lord in majesty will be for us
a place of broad rivers and streams,
where no galley with oars can go,
nor majestic ship can pass.
22 For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver;
the Lord is our king; he will save us.

I33 judge

James 4:12   (NIV)

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

23 Your cords hang loose;
they cannot hold the mast firm in its place
or keep the sail spread out.
Then prey and spoil in abundance will be divided;
even the lame will take the prey.
24 And no inhabitant will say, “I am sick”;
the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.

_________________________

Music:

Verse 2 today prays to God, “Be gracious to us.” Psalm 145:8 promises that “The Lord is gracious and compassionate.” So we can rest in his steadfast love, his everlasting mercy, and his divine kindness. Do not deprive yourself of the graciousness of the Lord! Rest in God! Click  HERE  to hear Bridget Moses’ “The Lord Is Gracious and Compassionate.”

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
verse 2 sunrise.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/isaiah332.png
Sennacherib besieges Judah.    http://biblestudyoutlines.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/sennacherib-besieged-judah.jpg
be good.    https://thebenildean.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/be-good.png
verse 22 gavel.    http://img.heartlight.org/cards/g/isaiah33_22.jpg

2116.) Isaiah 32

June 12, 2017

I32 rose

Isaiah 32   (ESV)

A King Will Reign in Righteousness

This first section can be read as a description of Christ’s eternal reign, with Jesus providing shelter, protection, refreshment, and shade. No more judicial blindness or rash decisions. The coming of Christ will reveal people in their truest selves — fools as fools, noble ones as noble ones.

–from William MacDonald

Behold, a king will reign in righteousness,
and princes will rule in justice.
Each will be like a hiding place from the wind,
a shelter from the storm,
like streams of water in a dry place,
like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.

I32 shade-under-a-huge-rock

Music:

Elizabeth Clephane was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1830. Her parents both died while she was young, and she was never very healthy herself; she died at age 39. After her death her poetry was published, including a hymn which contained an allusion to the verse above. Click  HERE  to hear the Hasting College Choir (Hastings, Nebraska) sing one of my favorite (one of my many favorite!) hymns, “Beneath the Cross of Jesus.”

Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.

Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by, to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

_________________________

Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed,
and the ears of those who hear will give attention.
The heart of the hasty will understand and know,
and the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak distinctly.
The fool will no more be called noble,
nor the scoundrel said to be honorable.
For the fool speaks folly,
and his heart is busy with iniquity,
to practice ungodliness,
to utter error concerning the Lord,
to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied,
and to deprive the thirsty of drink.
As for the scoundrel—his devices are evil;
he plans wicked schemes
to ruin the poor with lying words,
even when the plea of the needy is right.

I32 generous
But he who is noble plans noble things,
and on noble things he stands.

Complacent Women Warned of Disaster

But the kingdom hasn’t come yet. Judgment will come on the people who valued luxury and ease above social justice and righteousness.

–from William MacDonald

Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice;
you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech.
10 In little more than a year
you will shudder, you complacent women;
for the grape harvest fails,
the fruit harvest will not come.
11 Tremble, you women who are at ease,
shudder, you complacent ones;
strip, and make yourselves bare,
and tie sackcloth around your waist.
12 Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,
for the fruitful vine,
13 for the soil of my people
growing up in thorns and briers,
yes, for all the joyous houses
in the exultant city.
14 For the palace is forsaken,
the populous city deserted;
the hill and the watchtower
will become dens forever,
a joy of wild donkeys,
a pasture of flocks;
15 until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
17 And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.

I32 Holy Spirit

Justice . . . righteousness . . . peace . . . quietness and assurance forever:
When God’s Spirit is poured out among His people, this is what it is like. We shouldn’t be satisfied with what claims to be of the Spirit, but isn’t marked by the fruit of the Spirit. If we lack these things, we can ask the Lord to pour out His Spirit upon us.

–David Guzik

18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
19 And it will hail when the forest falls down,
and the city will be utterly laid low.
20 Happy are you who sow beside all waters,
who let the feet of the ox and the donkey range free.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
pink rose.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/i32-rose.jpg
“the shadow of a mighty rock”    http://bobsanecdotes.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/shade-under-a-huge-rock4.jpg
a generous man.   https://www.pktfuel.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/tumblr_meokptkKhE1rj3ommo1_1280.jpg
Holy Spirit dove.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/holyspiritdove-pentecost.jpg

2115.) Isaiah 31

June 9, 2017

I31 Ancient Egyptian Chariots

Isaiah 31   (ESV)

Woe to Those Who Go Down to Egypt

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
and rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
or consult the Lord!

Isaiah confronts Judah with two sins: the sin of trusting in Egypt and their military might, and the sin of not looking to the Holy One of Israel. Judah felt they had a reason to trust in chariots (because they are many). Judah felt they had a reason to trust in horsemen (because they are very strong). But they couldn’t seem to find a reason to trust in the Lord!

–David Guzik

And yet he is wise and brings disaster;
he does not call back his words,
but will arise against the house of the evildoers
and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.
The Egyptians are man, and not God,
and their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
When the Lord stretches out his hand,
the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall,
and they will all perish together.

And yet the reasons to trust God are many and obvious! God is wise. His words alone can build up or tear down. In his actions he is against those who work iniquity. 

For thus the Lord said to me,
“As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey,
and when a band of shepherds is called out against him
he is not terrified by their shouting
or daunted at their noise,
so the Lord of hosts will come down
to fight on Mount Zion and on its hill.
Like birds hovering, so the Lord of hosts
    will protect Jerusalem;
he will protect and deliver it;
    he will spare and rescue it.”

I31 Mother Bird

Psalm 91:4   (NLT)

He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Turn to him from whom people have deeply revolted, O children of Israel. For in that day everyone shall cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you.

8 “And the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of man;
and a sword, not of man, shall devour him;
and he shall flee from the sword,
and his young men shall be put to forced labor.
His rock shall pass away in terror,
and his officers desert the standard in panic,”
declares the Lord, whose fire is in Zion,
and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.

This was fulfilled exactly. The Assyrian army devastated almost the entire land of Judah, and camped on the outskirts of Jerusalem, waiting to conquer the nation by defeating the capital city. But 2 Kings 19:35 describes how God simply sent the angel of the Lord, and killed 185,000 Assyrians in one night. When the people woke up, there were 185,000 dead Assyrian soldiers. It was a victory that had nothing to do with the sword . . . of man. God was more than able to protect Judah and Jerusalem.

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

I know I say “this is one of my favorite songs” fairly often — I guess there are a lot of wonderful songs!  But this one is just so GOOD to listen to and to sing along with!  “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”  by Matt Redman.   Redman says:  “I like the phrase “Bless the Lord” and find John Piper’s description of what this means really helpful. He says that when God ‘blesses’ us we are in a sense being added to, and having our lives enriched. But of course when we say we “bless the Lord,” it’s different; we’re not adding to God or enriching Him in any way, we are simply recognizing his richness and bounty, and expressing our thanks and praise for it.”

Click  HERE  to have your spirit raised before God’s throne!

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
model of ancient Egyptian chariot.    http://egy-king.blogspot.com/2012/08/ancient-egyptian-chariots.html
Trust in the Lord.   http://www.sharefaith.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/trustinthelord.jpg
bird and nest.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/motherbirdnest2.jpg

2114.) Isaiah 30

June 8, 2017

I30 Lancaster

Isaiah 30   (ESV)

Do Not Go Down to Egypt

“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine,
and who make an alliance,but not of my Spirit,
that they may add sin to sin;
who set out to go down to Egypt,
without asking for my direction,
to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh
and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame,
and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.

Woe to the alliance with Egypt! The whole project is doomed to failure.

For though his officials are at Zoan
and his envoys reach Hanes,
everyone comes to shame
through a people that cannot profit them,
that brings neither help nor profit,
but shame and disgrace.”

An oracle on the beasts of the Negeb.

Through a land of trouble and anguish,
from where come the lioness and the lion,
the adder and the flying fiery serpent,
they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys,
and their treasures on the humps of camels,
to a people that cannot profit them.
Egypt’s help is worthless and empty;
therefore I have called her
“Rahab who sits still.”

A Rebellious People

And now, go, write it before them on a tablet
and inscribe it in a book,
that it may be for the time to come
as a witness forever.

I30 writeitdown

When I was a teacher, a common piece of instruction from the administration was this:  If you don’t document it, it didn’t happen. We were required to put “situations” with students or parents in writing. Here God gives the same directions:  Write it down. It will stand as proof. 

For they are a rebellious people,
lying children,
children unwilling to hear
the instruction of the Lord;
10 who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;
speak to us smooth things,
prophesy illusions,
11 leave the way, turn aside from the path,
let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel,
“Because you despise this word
and trust in oppression and perverseness
and rely on them,
13 therefore this iniquity shall be to you
like a breach in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse,
whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant;
14 and its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel
that is smashed so ruthlessly
that among its fragments not a shard is found
with which to take fire from the hearth,
or to dip up water out of the cistern.”

God says that Egypt’s “help” will be like a wall of defense that bulges and collapses, or like a piece of pottery which breaks so completely that no fragment is large enough to use for another purpose. Judah is foolish to turn elsewhere for help, when the Lord is calling them back to himself.

15 For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

Isaiah 30 15

Is there anything that can touch our hearts like the power of stillness?

For the hearts that will cease focusing on themselves, there is “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 47); “quietness and trust” (Isaiah 30:15), which is the source of all strength; a “great peace” that will never “make them stumble” (Psalm 119:165); and a deep rest, which the world can neither give nor take away. Deep within the center of the soul is a chamber of peace where God lives and where, if we will enter it and quiet all the other sounds, we can hear His “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12).

There is only one way to know God:  “Be still and know” (Psalm 46:10). “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him” (Habakkuk 2:20).

–from Streams in the Desert

But you were unwilling, 16 and you said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”;
therefore you shall flee away;
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”;
therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
17 A thousand shall flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you shall flee,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
like a signal on a hill.

The Lord Will Be Gracious

18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.

I30 rose

Have you ever noticed that God is not in a hurry? It took 40 years for Moses to receive his commission to lead the people out of Egypt. It took 17 years of preparation before Joseph was delivered from slavery and imprisonment. It took 20 years before Jacob was released from Laban’s control. Abraham and Sarah were in their old age when they finally received the son of promise, Isaac. So why isn’t God in a hurry?

God called each of these servants to accomplish a certain task in His Kingdom, yet He was in no hurry to bring their mission into fulfillment. First, He accomplished what He wanted in them. We are often more focused on outcome than the process that He is accomplishing in our lives each day. When we experience His presence daily, one day we wake up and realize that God has done something special in and through our lives. However, the accomplishment is no longer what excites us. Instead, what excites us is knowing Him. Through those times, we become more acquainted with His love, grace, and power in our lives. When this happens, we are no longer focused on the outcome because the outcome is a result of our walk with Him. It is not the goal of our walk, but the by-product. Hence, when Joseph came to power in Egypt, he probably couldn’t have cared less. He had come to a place of complete surrender so that he was not anxious about tomorrow or his circumstances.

This is the lesson for us. We must wait for God’s timing and embrace wherever we are in the process. When we find contentment in that place, we begin to experience God in ways we never thought possible.

–Os Hillman

19 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. 22 Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!”

God waits until the disaster of our choice has taught us the foolishness of that choice . .  .

23 And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, 24 and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25 And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.

. . . and once we turn to God, he will be our Teacher, Guide, Giver of rain and prosperity, Healer, Rock, and Defender.

–William MacDonald

26 Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.

27 Behold, the name of the Lord comes from afar,
burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;
his lips are full of fury,
and his tongue is like a devouring fire;
28 his breath is like an overflowing stream
that reaches up to the neck;
to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction,
and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray.

29 You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel.

1 John 4:17   (NLT)

And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

30 And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones. 31 The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the Lord, when he strikes with his rod. 32 And every stroke of the appointed staff that the Lord lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them. 33 For a burning place has long been prepared; indeed, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.

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Music:

Do you take the time to rest in the peace that God has promised to you?  Take a few moments now to Be still and know.  Click  HERE  to listen to  La Chapelle Royale, Collegium Vocale, and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, with Philippe Herreweghe, conductor, sing “Grant Us Thy Peace” by Felix Mendelssohn.

O Lord God grant us Thy peace and thy mercy
For these times in which we live!
For there is none other save Thou, Lord,
Who hath the power to fight for us.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
pond scene in Lancaster County, PA.  http://www.dailyencouragement.net/desktop/isaiah_30-15.jpg
write it down.    http://dribbble.s3.amazonaws.com/users/11880/screenshots/251583/writeitdown_final.png
verse 15.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/isaiah3015.jpg
rose.    http://www.365promises.com/promise-photo-gallery/30-promises-for-november/5609486
This is the way.    https://reversingverses.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/isaiah30-21.jpg

2113.) Isaiah 29

June 7, 2017

I29 Genesis1-1

Isaiah 29   (ESV)

The Siege of Jerusalem

Ah, Ariel, Ariel,
the city where David encamped!

The name Ariel means Lion of God, and in this passage is used as a symbolic reference to Jerusalem (the city where David encamped). God promises to bring distress to the city:

Add year to year;
let the feasts run their round.
Yet I will distress Ariel,
and there shall be moaning and lamentation,
and she shall be to me like an Ariel.
And I will encamp against you all around,
and will besiege you with towers
and I will raise siegeworks against you.
And you will be brought low; from the earth you shall speak,
and from the dust your speech will be bowed down;
your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost,
and from the dust your speech shall whisper.

Then God promises he will intervene and drive Jerusalem’s enemies back:

But the multitude of your foreign foes shall be like small dust,
and the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff.
And in an instant, suddenly,
    you will be visited by the Lord of hosts
with thunder and with earthquake and great noise,
with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.
And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
all that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her,
shall be like a dream, a vision of the night.
As when a hungry man dreams, and behold, he is eating
and awakes with his hunger not satisfied,
or as when a thirsty man dreams, and behold, he is drinking
and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched,
so shall the multitude of all the nations be
that fight against Mount Zion.

Why is this happening? Because the people have been willfully blind. They do not understand the word of God, and everyone has an excuse:

Astonish yourselves and be astonished;
blind yourselves and be blind!
Be drunk, but not with wine;
stagger, but not with strong drink!
10 For the Lord has poured out upon you
a spirit of deep sleep,
and has closed your eyes (the prophets),
and covered your heads (the seers).

11 And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” 12 And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”

Because their religion is purely external and their only fear of God is a matter of memorized creeds, God will perform a supernatural work of judgment, stripping the keenest minds of wisdom and discernment:

13 And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
14 therefore, behold, I will again
do wonderful things with this people,
with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.

I29 Christ on cross

“Wonder upon wonder” — Christ crucified!

1 Corinthians 1:18-25   (NIV)

Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

15 Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel,
whose deeds are in the dark,
and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
16 You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
that the thing made should say of its maker,
    “He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
    “He has no understanding”?

I29 potter and clay

Indeed, man says exactly this today. Instead of seeing the absolute need for an intelligent designer who created all things, many believe that chance–absolute blind, random, purposeless chance, having no understanding at all–brought all things into being.

People who are otherwise intelligent often fall into this delusion. Jacques Monod, a biochemist, wrote: “Chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.”

But assigning such power to “chance” is crazy. Chance has no power. For example, when a coin is flipped, the chance it will land “heads” is 50%; however, “chance” does not make it land heads. Whether or not it lands heads or tails is due to the strength with which the coin is flipped, the strength of air currents and air pressure as it flies through the air, where it is caught, and if it is flipped over once it is caught. Chance doesn’t “do” anything but describe a probability.

When Carl Sagan petitioned the federal government for a grant to search for intelligent life in outer space, how did he hope to find it? By using a super sensitive instrument to pick up radio signals from distant space. When he received those radio signals, he looked for order and pattern, which would demonstrate the signals were transmitted by intelligent life. In the same way, the order and pattern of the whole universe demonstrates that it was fashioned by intelligent life, not by “chance.” Scientists detect “chance” in the radio signals constantly (in the form of unpatterned static), but it tells them nothing.

We need to remember the context of the whole chapter–the pride and blindness of Jerusalem. It is perhaps the height of man’s pride and blindness to reject the Lord as our creator.

–David Guzik

_________________________

But a day of deliverance is coming!

17 Is it not yet a very little while
until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?
18 In that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book,
and out of their gloom and darkness
the eyes of the blind shall see.
19 The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord,
and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the ruthless shall come to nothing
and the scoffer cease,
and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off,
21 who by a word make a man out to be an offender,
and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate,
and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right.

And the faithful remnant will honor God. Shame and reproach will be a thing of the past, and willingly they will learn of the Lord:

22 Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:

“Jacob shall no more be ashamed,
no more shall his face grow pale.
23 For when he sees his children,
the work of my hands, in his midst,
they will sanctify my name;
they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob
and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding,
and those who murmur will accept instruction.

_________________________

Music:

Many in our world today are averse to accepting instruction from the Bible, and I find that especially puzzling when one considers how all things in the universe came to be. Nature is so orderly much of the time! The planets faithfully revolve around the sun for centuries! Gravity always applies! Yet some people think this all just happened, somehow . . .  My mother used to say that you could put a million monkeys in a room with a million typewriters for a million years, and you would never get anything like a Shakespeare play. Somewhere there must be great intelligence and great creativity! Only God! Click  HERE  to join in and praise the Lord:  “Our God Reigns!”

I29 monkey typewriter

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English Standard Version (ESV)  The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Genesis 1:1.    http://reversingverses.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/genesis1-1.jpg
Christ on the cross — sketch by Eugene Delacroix, 1845.    http://bibleartists.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/12-sketch-of-christ-on-the-cross-eugc3a8ne-delacroix.jpg
Isaiah 29:16.    http://ih1.redbubble.net/image.8855634.2162/flat,550×550,075,f.jpg
monkey with typewriter.    http://img688.imageshack.us/img688/6771/monkeytypewriter.jpg